Meet Rising Star Jenna Calandra

 

Hey guys! My name is Jenna Calandra. I’m from Long Island, NY and I’m 22 years old. My passion is music, and I want to be able to inspire everyone around the world.

 

R: When did you ​first​ ​get​ ​into​ ​singing?​ ​What​ ​made​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​seriously​ ​pursue​ ​it?

J: I was about eight years old, I was in a class choir in elementary school and I said to myself, “I want to be a singer.” I did plays in fourth and fifth grade, but I wasn’t a really good actress. I just wanted to sing!

 

R: What​ ​style​ ​do​ ​you​ ​sing?​ ​What’s​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​song?

J: I sing pop and R&B. My favorite song at the moment is “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore” by Demi Lovato from her newest album. She is my inspiration.

 

R: Tell​ ​us​ ​about​ ​your​ ​single.​ ​What’s​ ​the​ ​story​ ​behind​ ​it?

J: My single “I’ll Be” is about finding the truth about yourself and discovering the path of your dreams. Basically, it’s about not giving up on your dreams and instead living fully, falling in love, keeping yourself happy, and doing what you love most.

 

R: I​ ​also​ ​heard​ ​you​ ​have​ ​an​ ​EP​ ​coming​ ​out​ ​next​ ​year.​ ​Tell​ ​us ​about​ ​it and your recording process.

J: I do an artist development program in Plainview at The Loft Sound Studio, a.k.a. Artist Factory NY. That’s also where I record my music. I have two songs out now, and my third single is going to be out in 2018. Right now, I just want to take my time recording and songwriting for my self-titled debut album, Jenna, which will be coming out in about two and a half years. It’s about my darkest times, chasing dreams, and inspiring messages that I’ve learned from other people. I can’t wait to show the world this record!

 

R: Who​ ​are​ ​some​ ​of​ ​your​ ​inspirations,​ ​both​ ​musically​ ​and​ ​personally?

J: My biggest musical influences include Tori Kelly, Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift, but my main inspiration is Demi Lovato. Personally, I like her for who she is personality-wise, because she seems funny and cool to hang out with. She is very talented, and her vocals give me chills every time when I hear her song “Stone Cold” off her recent album Confident (one of my favorite albums). She also inspired me to keep chasing my dreams and keep myself healthy.

 

R: What​ ​are​ ​some​ ​of​ ​your​ ​future​ ​goals?

J: My future goals are to keep myself healthy, strong, confident, and inspire girls of all ages with my music. I want my songs to help others who are suffering emotionally. I’ve been there, so that’s why I sing and write songs to get those emotions out.

 

R: Is there any charity or cause close to your heart that you want to raise awareness for?

J: I want to start a charity in the future for people who are suffering with mental illness or who are disabled. We are all humans, and we should be respected as humans.

 

R: What​ ​advice​ ​would​ ​you​ ​give​ ​girls​ ​that​ ​want​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​a​ ​career​ ​in​ ​singing?

J: Never give up! You are beautiful, talented, and worth it. You can do anything if you put your mind to it because you’re strong and you can achieve anything. If you are bullied, don’t listen to the haters, because they’re just jealous and they don’t know who you really are inside and out. You are amazing. Keep your head up and listen to your heart!

 

R: Where​ ​can​ ​people​ ​get​ ​your​ ​music?

J: My single “I’ll Be” will be back on Spotify soon. I had some difficulties with a website that has a distribution with Spotify, but keep an eye out for it!

 

R: Is​ ​there​ ​anything​ ​else​ ​you​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​add?

J: Thank you so much for interviewing me! I had so much fun. To all the readers out there, don’t give up on your dreams. Keep smiling and be happy! Have a wonderful day!

 

Meet Up and Coming Singer Kylie Hughes

 

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious when someone is born a star. When she was little, singer Kylie Hughes would belt out Disney tunes (her favorite was the Hercules soundtrack). Now, she has a number of musical accomplishments under her belt, including producing an EP when she was fourteen, performing at music festivals, and sharing the stage with several well-known artists such as the Beach Boys, Jesse McCartney, and Building 429. She’s also opened for a John Mayer concert and performed a duet at Carnegie Hall with Michael W. Smith.

Kylie is a Cali girl at heart, and a lot of her music is inspired by California and the fun, upbeat, sunny lifestyle. When asked about her style of music, she said she dabbles in a little bit of everything, from pop to country. “I love how blurred the lines of music genres are these days. You can almost do anything.” Her debut album features an array of beautiful, original songs such as “Heat,” “Love Somebody Else,” and her personal favorite, “Gotta Get Out.” She says that it’s very fun to perform live because there is a bit of call and response, and she feels really connected to the audience on that one.

Besides singing, she loves interior design and traveling. “I actually love living out of a bag from time to time. It keeps me spontaneous.” When asked about what advice she has for other young singers, she said this: “Stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to try and fail. You will gain invaluable lessons. But if you are going to take a risk, do it because YOU want to, not because you feel pressure from other people. Trust your gut.”

Be sure to check out her website and follow all her socials (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) for updates, including information on when her new music video is coming out!

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credit: Shalon Goss

 

Tricks to Make Your Eyes Pop

Whether you want to look great for prom, ensure you look fab in your graduation photos or you simply think your eyes are your best feature and you want to make the most of them, there are a number of tricks you can use to really make your eyes pop. Here are some of the most effective:

Layers of Eyeliner

A lot of girls find it difficult to correctly line there eyes, but there are few things that will make the eyes pop more than lovely lined lids. Luckily, one of the best techniques for lining the lids so that they eyes stand out and liner lasts is also a very easy one. First, use a liner pencil to draw a straight line (it’s easier to do with a pencil), then very carefully use a liquid liner, like L’Oreal Paris Infallible Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner, to draw another layer on top of the pencil. It’ll make your eyes stand out like nothing else.

Use Two Colors

Another liner trick that many makeup artists use to make the eyes pop is to line the upper lashes with black liner and the lower lashes with a lighter, brow liner. This softens the eyes while ensuring that they’re also the star of the show.

Use a White Liner

Using a white eyeliner pencil on the inside lower rim of your eyes will make your eyes look bigger, and the color of your irises pop. This is a trick that starlets of the 30s and 40s used a lot, and it is still very effective today.

Line the Inner Eyes

Applying liner carefully to the inner rim of your eyes will open them up, add more definition and help to make your lashes appear thicker, fuller and prettier.

Half-Line

Image sourceIf you want your eyes to look big, bright and open, instead of lining the entirety of your lash lines, simply apply liner to half of the area for an eye-widening look you’ll love.

Pencil in Your Brows

Your eyes will always look more dramatic if they are framed by darker, thicker eyebrows. So, if your eyebrows are particularly thin or light, take a soft pencil that is a similar shade to your hair and fill in your brows. Plucking your brows will also help to define your features more effectively.

Use Fake Lashes

If you want your eyes to make an instant impact, using  House of Lashes false eyelashes is a must. These lashes are thick, luscious and difficult to ignore. Not only will they give you a dramatic look in their own right, but they’ll frame your eyes so that they perfectly pop.

Make Your Mascara Work for You

If you’re using budget mascara, you can make it look as brilliant as high-end products by placing a thin business card under your lash line as you apply the product. This will prevent the mascara brush from bending your lashes, ensuring that they are covered from root to tip, giving you a more wide-eyed appearance.

Cimorelli’s New Album Might Be The Best Yet

 

Written by:  Jill Sheets

Cimorelli’s newest album has just been released. Even thought Alive is not their first album, it is their first pop/Christian album. The Cimorelli sisters wrote every song on it. (When you think they cannot get any better, they do!) Personally, I think Alive is their best album so far. It’s catchy and upbeat; it shows off their strong vocals and meaningful lyrics. They have worship songs, but they also tackle hard issues like worthlessness and addiction. These inspirational and uplifting songs will get stuck in your head, especially when you need a certain message.  It is hard to pick my favorite song, as I love them all. Each song speaks to me in a different way, and I’m sure they will for you too.

 

Track Listing:

  1.    Your Name Is Forever
  2.    One More Night
  3.    Alive
  4.    Never Let Me Fall
  5.    The Love Of A Man
  6.    My God Is Here
  7.    Hope For It
  8.    Kick The Habit
  9.    Find Me
  10.    Love Song (Over Me)

I had been waiting a while for this CD, and it was worth the wait. I cannot wait to see what Cimorelli does next. If you are interested in learning more about this sister group you can go to the links below.

https://www.cimorellimusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Cimorelliband/

https://www.instagram.com/cimorelliband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/cimorellitheband

 

Singer Nikki Yanofsky is Bringing Jazz to a New Generation

 

When you think of jazz music, you might think of really old classics sung by really old singers–beloved, but a little obsolete. That’s not what 23-year-old Montreal native Nikki Yanofsky thinks. This rising star is bringing jazz to a new generation with her fresh blend of jazz and pop. So far she’s performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, worked with artists like Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, and has recently released an EP. Read on to meet her!

 

R: Hi Nikki! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

N: Hey! I’m Nikki Yanofsky, I enjoy long walks on the beach (preferably with like, five dogs), painting and a good book!

 

R: When did you first get into singing?

N: I’ve been singing since I could talk…I started to put on little shows around my house for my family as far back as I could remember. I started performing for a real audience (that weren’t obliged to tell me I was good) at twelve.

 

R: Who are your biggest inspirations?

N: Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse, and Bruno Mars. My favourite songwriter is Rod Temperton.

 

R: What are some of your future goals?

N: I want to bring jazz to a younger generation.

 

R: What’s your favorite song?

N: That’s very hard. I don’t have a favourite song! I would feel too bad singling one out. Songs represent snapshots of different moments for me. That’s like picking a favourite moment in my life. And when you think about it, life is just one big collection of moments, you can’t have one moment without the moment that came before or after it.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

N: Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. Pretty much everywhere.

 

R: Do you have any social media, and if so, what are the addresses?

N: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter: OfficialNikkiY
We Heart It: NikkiYanofsky

 

R: Is there anything else you’d like to add or say to your fans?

N: Without you there is no this. I mean that. So thank you so much for listening to my music!

 

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credits: Alchetron, Donna Hopper

Chit Chatting with Singer Lovey James

Written by:  Jill Sheets

 

Lovey closeRecently I had the honor of interviewing singer Lovey James.  Continue to read on and learn more about her, who she would like to tour with and about the charities that are close to her heart.

R:  Tell us about yourself and how you got into the music business?

L: My name is Lovey James and I am an upcoming pop artist. I got into the music industry through dance actually. I was a competitive dancer for 7 years before this and this is actually my first year not doing competitive dancing. So when I was around 8 years old my dance teacher Linda, who is a former Broadway singer, suggested that I enter the vocal category at one of the dance competitions for fun. So I, with her advice I did enter singing Broadway songs. And surprisingly enough I started winning cash prizes, scholarships and many titles. From here I went on to a local Voice Competition in my city called Hillsboro Teen Idol, and I won singing “Good Morning Baltimore” from the Musical Hairspray. Then I went onto another competition the next city over in Portland Oregon and at this competition it was a little different because all the artists had to sing Pop, which I wasn’t used to singing, but after winning as a finalist, I was introduced to many people including my producer, and manager. I fell in love with pop music and decided that I wanted to pursue my career as a pop artist.

 

R:  Tell us about your songs “I Can Do Anything” and  “Rollercoaster.”

L: My song “I Can Do Anything” was just released a week ago and it is my brand new single. It is a power ballad type of song almost like “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. It was written by Sam Martin who wrote “Daylight” by Maroon 5 as well as myself and my producer, Steve Sundholm. I am super excited to drop the music Video for I Can Do Anything so look out for that! And my new Song “Rollercoaster” is a fun upbeat song that is fun to dance to. It was written by TrendDef and that was my first time working with them and it was an amazing experience.

R:  What is your favorite song that you have written so far and why?

L: I think my favorite song that I have written so far is “Who You Are” the lyrics are very encouraging to young teens and explain to them that popularity isn’t the only thing that is important in life. And to stop worrying about what other people think of you!

 

R:  What are five bands or singers that you would love to tour with and why?

L: Ooh! Five bands or individuals that I would love to tour with are; Ariana Grande, because she has an amazing voice and seems like the nicest girl! My second person would probably be Katy Perry, because all of her songs and costumes are SO cute and she maybe, just maybe she’d let me wear one of them! My third person would be Justin Timberlake, because he is such an amazing performer and is a true entertainer! My forth would be Selena Gomez, because she is a dancer and so am I so we relate in that way! I also grew up watching her on Disney so I’ve always looked up to her. And last but not least, One Direction because they are so inspiring to young girls and boys and are fun and exciting on stage.

 

R:  Where can people get your music?

L: All of my music can be found on iTunes as well as on YouTube. My YouTube channel is LoveyJames17 and my VEVO channel is LoveyJamesVEVO

 

LoveyR:  What are some of your songs that address anti-bullying?

L: I have quite a few songs that address bullying like my song “Who You Are” and “I Can Do Anything” they give messages of hope and encourgament.

 

R:  Tell us about Kidzbop “Save Text or No Text” cyber-bullying campaign.

L: I hopped onto the Safe Text or No Text campaign with Kidzbop to share the message of anti-bullying with kids. My song “Who You Are” was featured and reminded kids that as Disney characters Thumper would say “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” The most popular form of bullying is through the internet. Kids use their keyboards to type harsh and rude comments and can affect people more than they may think it does.

 

R:  Have you ever been “star struck?”  If so, how was it and tell us about it?

L: I don’t have any big experiences that come to my mind at the moment. But I did get the opportunity to travel to Orlando Florida for PlaylistLive and I met many amazing artists and YouTubers while I was there including Jenna Marbles. So that was really cool!

 

R:  Do you have any charities that are close to your heart?  If so, which ones and tell us about them?

L: I do actually. I have a friend that I grew up with and went to high school with and his little brother had a disease called JM or Juvenile Myositis. His family created a foundation known as Cure JM I have performed at their charity events and sell bracelets whose proceeds go toward the foundation.

 

R:  You have great fashion sense.  How did you come up with your own?

L: Thank you very much! I absolutely love to shop and count shopping in my top 3 hobbies. My fashion sense comes from me trying to keep up with what is currently trending. Right now the color Burgundy which is somewhat like a maroon is trending

And so recently I have been including the color into my outfits by wearing that color combat boots, or getting my nails done that color, even wearing that color lipstick.

 

R:  It is not easy being a teenager these days.  What advice would you give them in general?

L: It is not easy for sure. I give teens encouragement by reminding them that it’s not so important to be popular or apart of the in crowd. What is important is that you stay true to yourself. The key is to find a group of friends that has your best intentions at heart and will always have your back!

 

R:  What are five things people may not know about you?

L: Five things that people might not know about me are;

1.     I have 5 siblings, so a total of 6 kids in my family.

2.     I can sing and talk with my mouth closed

3.     I don’t like cake

4.     I love food and am totally an eater, which means I can eat a lot of food!

5.     I started out dancing and found that I have a talent for singing on accident.

 

R:  Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

L: I think the strangest question I have been asked was at my first Live Show that I attended called SmashFest one of the interviewers asked me if I knew “What the fox says” referring to the hit song “What Does the Fox Say?” I had definitely heard the song before but was nervous and was caught in the moment, I was really confused and I was like “umhh…. No?” I was a little embarrassed after when I realized I should’ve busted out the silly lyrics.

 

R:  Are you on any social networking sites?  If so, which ones and what are their addresses?  Do you have an official websites and or youtube?

L: Yes I do! You can check out my website which is loveyjames.com, I also have a Twitter, Instagram, and Vine account which is @TheLoveyJames and I also have a YouTube account which is LoveyJames17

 

R:  Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

L: I would just like to let all my fans know that I love them all individualy and I am thankful for each and every one of them!

R:  Lovey James, thank you for the interview. It was an honor.  Have a great day.

L: Thank you so much! I hope you have a good day too!

Chit Chatting with Spencer Sutherland

Written by:  Jill Sheets

Spencer SutherlandRecently, I had the honor of interviewing singer Spencer Sutherland.  Continue to read on and learn more about him and his music.

R:  Tell us about yourself and how you got into the music business?

S: Thank you so much for having me! My name is Spencer Sutherland, and I’m from Pickerington Ohio. As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a singer. It’s just like I had to sing. Even in high school I would sing at all kinds of crazy restaurants just to be in front of people, and most of the time I didn’t get paid! Right after I graduated, I got an opportunity to audition for a woman who is now my manager, and literally 5 days later, she put me on as an opening act for Big Time Rush! Ever since then it’s been a ride!

R:  Tell us about your EP that you are working on.

S: The EP will have a pop based sound, but has all kinds of different influences. There is definitely an RnB vibe too. I can’t say too much though–gotta leave some surprises :)

R:  Tell us about your new single “Heartstrings”

S: Heartstrings is my debut single, and it tells a story of being with someone who is so hot and cold, and it drives you nuts. It’s an experience that everyone who has been in a relationship has been through, and it’s so frustrating. The clear channel station WNCI 979 has shown so much support by putting the record into rotation too! It’s so crazy and feels like a dream every time I hear it!

R:  You write your own songs.  How do you come up with the idea for your songs?  What is your writing process?  Do you start with the words?

S: I love to write music! Song ideas come from experiencing the ups and downs of a relationship, which I have had plenty of haha. Anything from the exciting feeling you get when you first start dating someone to heartbreak and everything in between! I really love to co-write music, because I enjoy bouncing my ideas off of someone who thinks differently. Since my voice is my main instrument, I usually start by humming some ideas of melodies, and then filling in guitar or piano from there.

R:  You got to work with Stefanie Scott on a cover of Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran’s song “Everything Has Changed.”  What was that like?

S:The experience of working with Stefanie Scott was so great! Stef is so great at what she does and knows how to joke around and have a great time! The feedback that we received was insane! The song was premiered on USA Today, the music video on Entertainment Tonight, and it was featured on MTV Buzzworthy! It really helped as far as nationwide exposure for my debnut single, “Heartstrings.”

R:  Where can people get your music?

S: People can find my music on Itunes, spotify, soundcloud, and other digi music retailers

R:  What is it like being is Ryan Seacrest’s contest?  Where can people vote?

S: It was so crazy being in Ryan’s contest, because I grew up watching him on American Idol. To see my name, picture, and video on his website was pretty surreal! You can go to ryanseacrest.com/contests and vote!

R:  What was it like performing on stage for the first time?

S: The first time I performed on stage was at a family fun festival in front of 3 people during my sophomore year of high school. The 3 people included my mom, dad and brother. :/

R:  You got to open for Ariana Grande and Big Time Rush.  What was that like?

S: I’ve been so lucky to open up for Ariana Grande, Big Time Rush and many others! I learn something new every time I open for someone! The fans are always incredible, and take me in with open arms. Being that I’m not as big as these acts, a lot of the fans don’t know me. It’s so cool to see how supportive they are. I’ve also gained new friendships with the acts I open for!

R:  Do you have a girl friend?  What do you look for in one?

S: Right now I do not have a girlfriend. When I find that person that I want to be with, I want to be able to give them everything, and right now life is just too crazy! My main focus right now is my music.

R:  What are five things you would like to do that you have not done yet?

S: 1. Go on tour
2. Travel the world
3. Act in a TV series
4. Buy my parents new cars
5. Collaborate with Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift

R:  Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

S: The strangest question I’ve ever been asked is: If you had the choice, would you marry a robot? Of course my answer was yes.

R:  Are you on any social networking sites?  If so, which ones and what are their addresses?  Do you have an official website?

S: You guys can find me on twitter or instagram at @spencermusic1, and on my official website spencersutherland.com!

R:  What is the best thing a fan has done or said to you?

S: This is such a hard question, because my fans are all amazing! They do so much for me and support me in so many ways! I’m lucky enough to have such a supportive fan base that continues to grow! A girl has told me that my song helped her through her breakup because it described exactly what she was feeling. To have that kind of impact on someone is a pretty powerful thing!

R:  Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

S: I love my fans so much! Thank you so much for the continued amazing support. It means so much to me, and I couldn’t do this without you.

R:  Spencer, thank you for the interview.  It was an honor.  Have a great day.

Myra Sky: License II Love

Myra Sky:  License II Love

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

Myra Sky:  License II LoveI like pop music.  There, I admit it.  I wish, sometimes, that the music genres on my iPhone were equally proportionate, but the truth is, they aren’t.  The pop genre soars high above any of the others.  I blame accessibility for one thing, but there is no denying that I enjoy good, clean pop music that doesn’t rely on sensuality or a gimmick.  Myra’s EP is exactly that; enjoyable, entertaining, and amicable.  I love its simplicity.  I love that it makes me dance.  I love that I want to call my friends and jump into my car when I listen.  I love that some of life’s burdens are forgotten when hear it.  Sometimes, you can’t ask for anything more from music, no matter what genre.

 

The best song really is “House of Cards,” the first single.  Maybe it is because the lyric video featured cards on a beach, but I think of summer when I hear the song.  I think of summer romance, and the unlikely possibility of it surviving the season.  Still, knowing this doesn’t make the relationship any less appealing.  Because, really,  if they didn’t, there would be no reason for songs like this to exist.  I love the “baby, baby, baby” near the end, making the last minute of the song the best part.  While other songs may repeat before fading out, this one is the best just before it is over.

 

“Crash Your Party” is a close second, and the song proves that the EP doesn’t have just one good song and then a lot of filler.  I love the play on words, the fact that she is part of “party” and that she’s willing to remove herself from it in order for reality to settle in for the guy who doesn’t get it.  “Knock Knock” is the song that I want to enjoy with my friends while “Question Mark” and “Into Your Love” have club hits written all over them.  “Hurricane,” meanwhile, takes Myra to a slower tempo and proves that she sing the ballads, too.  I loved the military, staccato drum loops on this and how they hold the song together, ironically as she sings about the romance unfurling into a mess.

 

The singing shows like The Voice have saturated the music industry with so much talent that many are being overlooked.  Don’t miss out on Myra.  This EP really is similar to her license; it’s proven that she has the done the work.  Now that she’s at the wheel, sit back and enjoy the ride with her.

 

For more information, please visit www.myrasky.com.  Be sure to download the EP today.

Interview with TAYLEN

Interview with TAYLEN

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

TaylenTAYLEN might be another recent addition to the pop scene, complete with infectious beats and great melodies.  However, it was her recent song “Bonnie and Clyde,” which she recently finished filming a video for while in Los Angeles, that got me to thinking that she has something different to offer.  For one, she’s writing her own songs.  Two, she isn’t wanting to write the same songs that everyone else is writing.  It was her choice to focus on the known outlaws, but rather than focus on what everyone else already sees, she gives it her own spin.  While fitting in, she stands apart.  Read on to discover more about TAYLEN.

 

Relate:  First memory of music:

 

TAYLEN:  My brother got me a karaoke machine when I was 6. And the songs were all gibberish. But I would go all out pretending they were real songs. And back then I couldn’t sing to save my life, so only I enjoyed it. Everyone else was tempted to throw the machine out. *haha*

 

R:  You’re being compared to Britney Spears and Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj-what about you sets you apart from these girls?

 

T:  I think that I might be compared to them, but I always try to keep myself unique. I love these artists, but I like to be different. And I thinks also because I’m only 16 but I sing the type of lyrics they do, but again I put my own spin on them.

 

R:  What about those girls would you like to keep as part of your career (besides their success)?

 

T:  I like the way all of them interact with their fans. They all care about them and they keep their fans happy. And I think that that’s the biggest lesson I would take from them. Fans are everything.

 

R:  What is your favorite song from the new album you’ve been working on and why?

 

T:  My favorite is Drive. Because its the one that gets me on my feet, and when that happens you cant stop me from dancing. And because my brother helped to write the song, I feel like it brought us closer.

 

R:  Song most recently played on your ipod?

 

T:  This is hard, since I’m always on my iPod, but the ones that I listen to everyday are Cher Lloyd, Katy Perry, Ross Lynch and Taylor Swift.

 

R:  Biggest difference that you’ve noticed between America and your native Australia?

 

T:  The biggest difference is food. Kinda weird, but I love good food. And in America the portions are like twice the size of the ones in Australia.

 

R:  Tell us about your latest video for Bonnie and Clyde.  What is your favorite part of working on videos?

 

T:  Bonnie & Clyde, that was the best experience of my life to date. I don’t want to give too much away, but pretty much people will see a different side of me, that not even I knew existed. But with the help of the team we had there, I performed. But as for the rest, I guess everyone will have to wait and see. *wink wink*

 

R:  Sixteen is so young to start a career!  What do you hope to focus on to become a better artist as you continue to grow and evolve?

 

T:  I hope that musically and lyrically I will grow. As I get older the more experiences I will have, and that means more to write about. I wouldn’t always want to be ‘the same.’  I want to keep surprising my fans with what I write.

 

R:  Musician you would most like to collaborate with?

 

T:  Again I have a whole list. But if I had to pick one, I would probably choose Cody Simpson. We are both young Australians, pursuing a career in music. He has such good music and, I haven’t met him but he seems really nice.

 

R:  Favorite thing to do when you aren’t singing or writing music?

 

T:  I like to just have time to myself. Although it usually involves me listening to music. Or I will watch a few girly TV shows or movies. Because they give me inspiration for my songs.

 

For more information on TAYLEN, please visit www.taylen.us, and be sure to purchase her music on iTunes.

Steve Katz: Barricades

Steve Katz:  Barricades

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

Steve Katz, BarricadesIt’s been a rough summer.  I won’t bore you with the details, but there’s been mornings that instead of my feet hitting the floor with eager anticipation for all I have to accomplish, there’s been an annoyed eye roll to the heavens, the blanket pulled over my head, and a heavy sigh knowing I have to get up anyway.  Life challenges that we all have.  Steve Katz refers to them as Barricades.  Whether they’re emotional or physical, seen or unseen, they shape us into the people we are.  Sometimes, more than just detours are made; art blossoms in the journey.

Of this five song introduction to Steve’s music, the first song “Thrive” is the most radio ready, pop driven.  I’m still in Olympics mode, so the image of the gymnasts sticking a perfect dismount is still lodged in my head; that’s the way this song makes me feel.  Not only does Steve completely nail this song, but I feel like anything is possible whenever I listen to it.  The vocals are rich, reminding me a little of the band Live’s former lead singer, Ed Kowalczyk; powerful pipes that never get lost under layers of guitars and never wavers, even when delivering emotion.  In fact, that’s when his voice is at it’s best.  And the way this song was written, about looking in the mirror and not liking the reflection, but realizing, slowly, that there is a purpose to be fulfilled…

“Today I Saw Hope” is straight forward, but it’s one that couldn’t possibly get enough attention.  In the midst of darkness, there is always a light, and that focus on it rather than on surrounding turmoil is a perspective that isn’t traveled enough. The underlying harmonies make this song even more lovely.  I love the fact that the gentleness of this song still makes a powerful punch.  It’s a song that stays with you; after hearing it once, all you have to do is look at the kindness lighting the corners, and you’ll hear this song in your head.

“Fair” returns a pop flavor, the driving pulse of the guitars giving this song momentum, and Steve’s vocals offering a bite to the pain he’s revealing, while the tongue in cheek lyrics made me smile.  “Play as if you couldn’t care/I’ll play, too, and make it fair.”  The final track, “A Modern Tale” is a reflective look back at a love that went astray.

Oddly enough, it was “Barricades,” the album’s title that starts off really well, but it left me unsure, and I had to struggle with falling in love with the song and it’s meaning.  “I will succeed/Where others have fallen.”  The song takes a turn, though, and instead of rejoicing in the lessons learned and the strength gained, Steve questions “Should I pray to the same God/The same one that condemned me/To this hell.”  It’s the last of the lyrics, the song subsides with guitars that carry the question for over a minute until the song evaporates, leaving the listener pondering.  At first, I was slightly annoyed that he even begs the question, especially after the beauty of “Today I Saw Hope.”  But the more I thought about it, I appreciated that even I question why sometimes, wanting to point fingers.   The best part of this song is indeed the fact that the question dangles, the guitars carrying it away, but listeners still deal with the residue.  Some will chose to accept that God isn’t some schemer, wanting us to suffer.  Others will continue to blame.  Only one solution will lead to faith and maturity.

Please visit www.stevekatzmusic.com for more information and be sure to download from a digital retailer of your choice.